When parents live together, providing financial support for their children is fairly automatic. It is simply what parents do for their children. For parents who live apart, child support can be controversial, and it is not surprising. According to figures provided by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, approximately $370 million is paid in child support each year in Oklahoma.

Child support is usually part of a paternity action or a divorce. If you want to establish support or have an existing agreement you want to modify due to a change in circumstances, you need to seek guidance from an experienced child support attorney.

At Wilson Law Firm PLLC, I help parents in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, and Ada, Oklahoma navigate child support agreements. Whether you are thinking about divorce or establishing paternity, are in the process, or wondering about modifying an existing child support agreement, I am ready to help.

Child Support in Oklahoma

Parents are legally obligated to provide financial support for their children until they reach the age 18 years of age (or 19 if they are still in high school). The state of Oklahoma has a financial interest in ensuring that parents provide financial support rather than taxpayers via state programs.

Calculating Child Support

To calculate the amount of child support necessary, the monthly gross income each parent earns is added together to determine the household income and each parent’s percentage of that income. If the noncustodial parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed to reduce child support, the court can impute income based on what that parent should be earning per month.

Based on the current child support guideline for the base amount of support depending on the number of children, that amount is then divided among the parents according to their percentage. Adjustments are made to the actual amount the noncustodial parent pays by calculating expenses such as the children’s health insurance premiums.



Calculating for Combined Incomes

The formula calculates support for combined incomes of up to $15,000 per month. If the combined income exceeds that sum, the court can determine if child support payments should be higher than the standard schedule, based on income determinations and the needs of the children, including the children’s lifestyle before the divorce.

Making & Modifying Your Own Arrangements

Parents can also negotiate a child support arrangement outside the formula and submit it to the court for approval. The court will base its final decision on what is in the best interests of the child and whether the arrangement addresses those interests.

You can request a child support modification from the court if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order became effective, such as changes in income, time spent with the child, or changes in the child’s needs. Modifications to existing agreements cannot be made retroactively. Parents should request a modification as circumstances change.

How Shared Parenting
Arrangements Affect Support

The calculation is based on the typical 70-90 overnight visits a child spends with a noncustodial parent during the course of a year. If parents share custody and the child’s time with the noncustodial parent exceeds that amount, a more complicated formula is used to reflect that additional time and the noncustodial parent’s “credit” for such time.

In the case of split custody, meaning each parent has primary custody of one or more of the children, each parent’s financial responsibility is calculated on its own. An offset is then made, meaning the parent paying the lessor support obligation would pay the other parent the difference.

Enforcement of Child Support Agreements

Parents are required by law to abide by the court-ordered agreement and child support enforcement is a serious legal matter.

Payments are typically made by an assignment of the payor’s income, such as a garnishment. The sum is withheld from the payor’s paycheck and submitted to the state’s Centralized Support Registry and then forwarded to the custodial parent. Some parents may agree to payments via other methods, such as cash, check, bank transfers, or payment platforms.

A parent who does not pay the child support judgment can be sanctioned or fined by the court or lose driving privileges or professional licenses.

The Importance of an Attorney

Even with a basic child support formula, the calculation of actual support can be quite complicated. An experienced child support attorney can help. Child support is awarded to the children — not to the custodial parent. Whether you will be paying child support or receiving it on behalf of your children, their best interests should be paramount.


At Wilson Law Firm PLLC, I have been helping hundreds of families in Shawnee, Chandler, Norman, Okemah, and Ada, Oklahoma work through complex child support matters for over 20 years. Whether you want to establish a support agreement in divorce or paternity, or if you want to modify an existing agreement, take the first step today by scheduling a consultation.